Suffolk Show 2012: Two farmers rack up 100 years service

TWO brothers who have worked for the same farmer for more than 100 years between them took part in the long service awards at the Suffolk Show.

Charlie Brown has worked for Greenwell Farms on the Sudbourne Hall estate near Orford for more than 65 years.

As he picked up a special award from show president Lord Deben, he was watched by his brother John who worked for the estate for 37 years.

Charlie, who is now 80, started working in the garden of Sudbourne Hall for Sir Peter Greenwell when he was 14. Their father William worked with horses on the estate before moving on to tractors in the 1940s.

Sir Peter’s son Sir Edward Greenwell watched as Charlie got his award.

Charlie said: “I started working in the garden before moving on to the farm. Now I work in the garden a couple of days a week – I have to deal with all the moles!”

He has continued working despite having three operations in hospital. “I keep on going. I’m really pleased to get the award,” he said.

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And Sir Edward added: “It is wonderful to be able to recognise this kind of achievement. We don’t see this kind of service much these days.”

Robin Mansfield, farm foreman of Houghton Hall Farm at Cavendish was presented with an award for working for 60 years with the same employer.

He recalled a favourite story about the brothers’ father William: “He worked with horses until we got our first Fegie (Massey Ferguson tractor) and then when he stopped in the middle of the day for his break we were told he tied the tractor up on the fence, just like he used to do with the horses!”

There are three categories of awards – for those who have worked more than 30 years, 50 years, and 60 years with the same employer.

After presenting the awards Lord Deben – the former Suffolk Coastal MP John Gummer – said: “It is a great tribute to those who have won these awards. It shows a great deal of loyalty to stay with one employer.

“And it also says a lot about the employer – if you look you see the same firms featuring in these awards year after year. Clearly people feel loyalty to them and want to stay with them.”

And he warned there might not be such long service being recognised in the future.

He said: “People don’t start working until later these days, so it is not likely you will find many people working 50 or 60 years in the future. It is a massive achievement we are seeing here today.”

A special award was given to Dr Philip Draycott of Wickhambrook for his work on developing improvements to sugar beet production. A keen beekeeper it is the second long service award he has received over recent years – he was recognised for spending 40 years as a lay reader in the Church of England two years ago.

A total of 22 farm workers who received long service awards for their work on farms across the county.

They were:

Robin Mansfield, Houghton Hall Farm, 60 years.

Chris Jude, Warren Hill Farms, 53 years.

Percy Doddington, Saunders Bros, 52 years.

Peter Garrod, Mr and Mrs M Partridge, 51 years.

Derek Webb, Fenning and Baker, 50 years.

Melvyn Rutter, Elveden Farms, 50 years.

David Hales, John Peacock and Son, 50 years.

Roger Thomas, M and Z M Steward, 50 years.

Gordon Nunn, P and J Wilson, 50 years.

Ian Flack, Elveden Farms, 50 years.

Reginald Flack, Elveden Farms, 50 years.

Arthur Clements, Fenning and Baker, 50 years.

John West, Dennington Hall Farms, 45 years.

Stewart Cross, Elveden Farms, 45 years.

David Norman, Mr and Mrs M Partridge, 45 years.

Alan Garland, Warren Hill Farms, 41 years.

Paul Keeble, Mr and Mrs M Partridge, 38 years.

David Steed, E Mitson and Sons, 35 years.

Malcolm Dick, John Woods Nurseries, 32 years.

Brian Howard, Elveden Farms, 30 years.

Colin Keeble, Mr and Mrs M Partridge, 30 years.

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